2022 California Science Education Conference Reflection from a long-time attendee, presenter, and exhibitor.
By Barry Scott, State Program Director, The NEED Project
Hooray! Just in time, the return of the annual conference for California Science Educators!
After a two-year pandemic-driven hiatus from in-person conferences, CASE was able to bring back the event that means so much to our energy education organization, and especially to teachers, schools, and programs looking to strengthen their STEM capacity.
After two years of remote instruction, hybrid classes, and virtual trainings and conferences, teachers were able to meet and collaborate in person with one another, attend exciting sessions and workshops, and enjoy the best of science education resources provided by representatives in the Exhibition Hall.
It’s always been an honor to represent NEED, the National Energy Education Development Project, during CSTA events, now CASE, over many years, and it was especially nice to be back to a full conference in Palm Springs.
It was joyful to see old friends, including previous CASE Executive Director Jessica Sawko and Past-President Susan Pritchard, and so many teachers with whom we’ve worked over the years and who we often only see at conferences like this.
Friday night’s event was especially fun, with a high-energy keynote presentation by Tim Blais, A Capella Science, followed by the Awards Celebration and Pool Deck Party. Tim came out from the back of the theater singing and dancing and the audience enjoyed his “Bohemian Gravity” video in advance of an inspirational talk about providing students with a sense of agency and reflecting on how his mom who nourished his own sense of agency.
A special treat this year was to learn that a dear friend and long-time NEED teacher who has also been a presenter at prior Conferences in Palm Springs and elsewhere, was an honoree. Jennifer Trochez MacLean, finalist in this year’s Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, was recognized as a nominee!
NEED has been a frequent exhibitor and workshop provider at almost every annual conference and we’re grateful for the chance to return. Teachers who know us want to know what’s new in our lineup of kits and curriculum, and new teachers are grateful to learn that we exist to provide free energy workshops, free curriculum, and ongoing support to teach about energy science, sources, conservation, and careers.
Our workshops are always well attended and fun to deliver. I remember conducting Solar Energy workshops for teachers out in the sunshine in downtown San Jose. We have built solar ovens and tested solar panels in Palm Springs, and teachers just love to learn by doing. We’ve offered Climate Change, Wind Energy, Science of Energy and many other hands-on workshops over the years and California teachers love our curriculum and our workshops.
NEED is always happy to support science teachers and for those who missed our workshop or exhibition booth, we encourage them to learn about our resources at www.need.org and check the catalog for kits and curriculum, the calendar for free energy workshops, and feel free to contact me, your NEED California State Coordinator, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org